Breaking: Another Southwest Hawaii Mid-Pacific Diversion

Breaking: Another Southwest Hawaii Mid-Pacific Diversion

For the second third time in three weeks, a Southwest Hawaii flight has had an over-water diversion. Today, Southwest flight 1281 departed Oakland this morning at 9:38 AM, and was inbound to Maui. Something severe enough occurred mid-Pacific that the plane made a u-turn nearing the half way point to Hawaii.  Data from Flightaware would seem to indicate the diversion took place at just over 90 minutes into the flight. The flight did a u-turn then landed safely at Oakland at 12:42 PM. There was an unexplained delay before the aircraft actually arrived at the gate, thirty minutes later. Southwest said only that the cause was a “mechanical issue requiring review.” The aircraft involved was a Boeing 737MAX 8.

Southwest Hawaii 737 MAX 8

Another plane was brought to the ready and the flight, now en route to Maui, departed Oakland at 2:55 PM and is due in Kahului at 4:49 PM. The replacement aircraft is also a  Boeing 737MAX 8.

What caused the flight diversion?

It had earlier been reported that the plane had a missing engine panel, but apparently that information was not correct. Another report indicated there may have been a problem with engine thrust reversers. We’ll update this as soon as we have more definitive information.

July 25 mid-Pacific smoke-in-cabin diversion on Southwest Boeing 737MAX 8.

You may recall that last month, a Southwest 737 Max-8 flying from Kona to Las Vegas diverted. That incident was reportedly due to smoke in the cockpit and occurred rather soon after takeoff. The plane landed safely in Honolulu.

August 6 Maui to Sacramento Diversion for a possible fuel leak and engine shutdown.

Then on August 6, SW1188, a Boeing 737MAX 8 traveling from Maui to Sacramento diverted to Oakland. A comment we received said it may have been due to “a fuel leak and had to shut down one engine for the final 90 minutes to the mainland.” Thanks for this tip David B.

Safety onboard flights over the world’s longest stretch of water without a diversion point.

Read: Hawaii Has the World’s Longest Over-Water Flights.

Kudos to Southwest for the safe return to Oakland.

If you were on that flight, please let us know.

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43 thoughts on “Breaking: Another Southwest Hawaii Mid-Pacific Diversion”

  1. That isn’t the second time. It is the third time in 2 weeks. SW1188 from Maui to Sacramento was diverted to Oakland 8/6 with a fuel leak and had to shut down 1 engine for the final 90 minutes to the mainland.

  2. Judging from all the down votes to comments critical of Southwest, there must be a lot of Southwest cult members subscribed to BOH….

    Aloha, BOH. 4 more weeks until we’re back for the 16th time!

  3. On August 8, Alaska Air flight #806 from Maui to San Diego was nearly two hours into the flight when it got diverted back to Honolulu. The passengers had to stay overnight and depart the next morning, on flight #9201 from Honolulu to San Diego. Nearly one hour into that flight, the same plane was diverted back to Honolulu again. On the very next day, August 10, Alaska Air Flight #895 from San Diego to Honolulu was 30 minutes into the flight before it got diverted back to San Diego.

    In short, Southwest was diverted twice in three weeks but I think Alaska Air “takes the cake” with three Hawaii diversions in three days.

    This info can also be found on Flight Aware.

    1. Hi Jeff.

      Thanks so much for that. These incidents were not reported by the sources which typically provide aviation incident updates.


  4. With Southwest being the largest airline in the world by seats available (168,852,981 seats) they would have a few more aircraft problems day-to-day, and overall a much lower percentage of problems than Hawaiian and other U.S. airlines.

    The 737 Max 8 is just as safe as any other modern aircraft flying today.
    When comes to the difference between flying Hawaiian and Southwest, and all the others, I fly Southwest when ever I can. Why do I fly Southwest? No nickel and diming for baggage and flight changes, consistently more legroom in coach. Most of all a consistent experience I can trust to always to the best and right thing.

  5. Seems dumb to divert back to the origination point if they are already halfway–or even close to halfway–to the destination point. I’m willing to bet that statistically far more of these diversions turn out to be relatively minor / uneventful situations (i.e. the plane does not crash on route back to the airport 99% of the time)–so why unnecessarily disrupt hundreds of passengers travel plans over something relatively minor?

    1. I know the write-up said “midway” but it also said “90 minutes.” Flights from Oakland to Maui take at least 5 hours.

    2. Because Southwest has their maintenance and parts in OAK/LAX and if parts are needed, they can get them faster and have the aircraft back in service sooner. If they would have continued the flight, and other flights with the same aircraft the following days could have been delayed or cancelled. Airlines make these decisions thousands of times every year and most often take many factors into considerations.

    3. All airlines flying between mainland and Hawaii have ETOPS rules they have to follow. A halfway point is determined prior to each flight. If there is any type of issue that requires diversion AND your prior to the halfway point, you turn around and go back. No gray area or decision making. Nothing to do with an airport having maintenance. Its black and white. If they had been past the halfway point, they would have continued and let the company figure out how to fix the plane in Hawaii.

  6. As I have said many times on here, southwest is not a safe airline and the MAX is no where near a safe aircraft by any means not will it ever be.

    1. It would be an interesting exercise to have you cite evidence supporting your position.

      Just a radical Tuesday afternoon thought..

    2. That’s ludicrous. Swa is completely safe along with the max 8. Faith runs deep with these jets as per the competitive airlines as well!


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